Change or Democratic Anarchy

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Monumental changes are occurring in the span of a single lifetime. Climate, science, demography, environment and human knowledge are all undergoing enormous rapid changes, and no one on earth can escape them. The only way to begin to manage change is to accept that it is here. To deny it, reject it, or refuse it, is to succumb to it, without ever having a say as to what shape or direction it took.

Satellite imagery shows rectilinear development grids erasing wild and natural habitats. The world has doubled its human population in just 50 years according to the U.S. Census bureau. Life spans are increasing for those with medical resources available at a dramatic rate, increasing by as much as 15% in the last 40 years. Science has developed more data, information, and understanding of our world and universe in the last 60 years than in the previous 3000 years of human history.

The first part of 20th and the 19th century were built on just 20 elements of the periodic chart. Today, modern societies are mining and implementing use of every item on the periodic chart of atomic elements. In 1 hundred years human civilization went from predominantly agricultural and authoritarian nations and cultures to predominantly democratic and industrial and technological service societies. And the economies of all major nations have become mixed economies where socialized policies to meet large demographic needs are supported by the redistribution of wealth of increasingly regulated but, still largely free, enterprise and market activities.

Modern human civilizations are acquiring information in excess of their capacity to digest, understand, and make use of it. The pace of change has begun to take on a life of its own as information for specific and narrowly defined purposes is bought and paid for and implemented almost immediately, leaving the broader and more comprehensive meaning and consequences of implementing such information for others to discover later, in some cases generations later.

Such enormous change, such fundamental and pervasive change has been heralded at every turn by those promoting it as doors to a better future. And at every turn, there have been those vocal groups and sometimes lone voices screaming that we are creating a Frankenstein of our future. But, the reality lies in between. The change mankind is experiencing today is an inevitable byproduct of the human mind, social education and history, and the species' remarkable capacity to manipulate and alter the natural world around us.

It is clear a great deal of this change is beneficial (medical science). It is just as clear a great deal of this change is harmful (fossil fuel dependence). But, equally important, a great deal of this change is occurring without management, direction, or consideration of the long term consequences to the species (rising population and decreasing arable land for food production). And in the end, the question of the management of change or its absence, is a political question.

In the U.S., European, S.E. and Eastern nations of this world, the future of humanity is being shaped and altered. But, is it being managed well? Polls in the U.S. are showing an interesting phenomenon. When asked if individuals are doing well compared to their grandparent's generation, there is a resounding yes in reply. When asked if their children will fare as well over their lifetimes, despite the history of progress of the last century, a majority are saying either no, or they are not confident that will be the case. While I am unable to find any studies to support this, it appears to me the collective consciousness of Americans is becoming aware that change is not being managed well and this threatens the future of their children's lives.

This phenomenon in the polls of cynicism toward the managers of change in industry and government at the same time that citizens are demanding radically better management of the future, is itself portending a fundamental change occurring in American politics. And indeed, as America has led the world in so many other changes over the last century, America may be the cutting edge of a political change over the next couple of decades that will spread around the world. Or, not. But, political change is already underway.

While those who discuss American politics still talk in terms of a democratic republic, rule of law, and constitutional government, the reality is America is morphing into a form of democratic anarchy. This democratic anarchy is very well evidenced. For example, the enormous and growing illegal and underground economy now estimated at $1 Trillion dollars per year. Everyone knows it exists, and indeed, many benefit from it without being actual participants in the direct illegal activity. Thus, it is an economy that is democratically assented to, despite its being illegal, a serious contributor to government revenue shortfalls, and deficits, and a growing threat to the future.

Another blatant example nearly every person of 12 years and older witnesses on our streets, where speed limits are posted and more than 50% of drivers at any given time exceed them without consequence. A further example is the intractable problem of illegal drug usage, both of prescription and recreational non-prescription usage. Prisons and jails are overcrowded and all notions of a speedy trial having fallen by the wayside. Non-selling users of illegal drugs have little to fear from the consumption even if they are caught. The society turns a blind eye and rationalizes users are not near the threat that pushers are, and pushers aren't near the threat as producers are. It is democratic anarchy in action whereby a consensus of tolerance for defiance of the law, is tolerated and in many social circles, even encouraged (the world of teens and socialites for example).

It is a very democratic form of anarchy, in that a broad consensus of assent to such lawbreaking is of sufficient low priority as to not warrant enforcement, is tacitly arrived at. And it is very much a form of anarchy in which citizens reject the laws made for others, exempting themselves from obedience to them. This is everywhere evident in our society from our current President down to the female high school teachers taking students for lovers. And it is pervasive. What American citizen can honestly say they have not broken a law deliberately in the last 6 months? Very few to be sure, if one compares citizen behavior from jaywalking to littering to failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign as just the beginning of a list of socially tolerated law breaking.

Therefore, as the public's awareness and consciousness of this fundamental reality of democratic anarchy is focused, and as frustration with poor or absent management of change for our children's futures by society's leaders grows, a new political dynamic is being forged with the rapid growth of Independent voters, searching for a different kind of politician, a different kind of political party, a different kind of philosophy for government that rejects black and white notions of legal and illegal, right and wrong, good and bad, and equality and discrimination. This new philosophy of government they seek is one which will radically change current priorities and make some priorities the business of government for which politicians must answer to the people, and leave vast numbers of other priorities for individuals or communities to determine for themselves, legal or not.

It is growingly clear to Independent voters that our current priority management is failing. When the media and politicians focus intently on weekly additions to the count of U.S. soldier deaths in Iraq totaling less than 4000, as 12 billion dollars a month are poured into Iraq to minimize that count, while 80,000 Americans die from medical malpractice each year in our medical facilities, or 40,000 die each year from auto accidents, and a piddling few million are spent on averting these deaths, our leader's priorities are clearly out of whack. When the real wages of American workers are barely staying ahead of inflation while management and investors consume close to half of employee's waking lives to profit themselves in millions, in some cases 100's of millions of dollars per year for managing the enterprise, clearly some priorities are grossly misaligned.

When our own educational system is so inadequate as to cause our government and industry to import both students and educated workers from foreign nations, even as our population swells, priorities are clearly in need of rearrangement. When our political system requires ever larger sums of money to elect ever poorer results of elections and government management, clearly a new political paradigm must be created.

Whether our current democratic anarchy system devolves into wholesale anarchy and revolution, or morphs into a new and yet unseen political paradigm and system, is not clear. But, one thing is inescapably clear. Our political system is about to join the global system of change which is everywhere evident in our lives, our futures, and our daily frustrations. And like the other changes beset us, we have the choice to deny or fight that change and be changed by it, or, accept that political change is inevitable and consciously decide on what form and direction that change will take. The political system and government designed by our forefathers in many ways only bares a faint resemblance to what now exists today.

Turning back the pages of history is not an option. Changing toward a new political system is. Failure to, will achieve the same results of all past cultures which failed to adapt to, or, manage well the future of change. In the latter half of this century, Americans may ponder how it happened that China became the most productive, economically powerful, and most influential nation on earth. And they may find the unheeded answer in these archives.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on August 10, 2007 9:39 AM.

America's Authoritarian Government was the previous entry in this blog.

The Incredibly 2 Faced Cheney is the next entry in this blog.

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